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Five years of The SSE Hydro: Dolly Parton’s motorhome, ingenious Enrique and other superstar tales from backstage

Backstage at The Hydro (Ross Crae / DC Thomson)
Backstage at The Hydro (Ross Crae / DC Thomson)

TOMORROW is a very special day for Glasgow’s SSE Hydro.

September 30 marks five years since the 13,000 capacity arena opened its doors for its first event, a concert by veteran rocker Rod Stewart.

Over the years, it has welcomed a host of world-renowned stars to perform a wide variety of shows.

There have been music superstars like Beyoncé, Prince, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.

Kevin Bridges and the Still Game gang have had record breaking and side-splitting runs on Clydeside.

Andy Murray and Roger Federer have played tennis here, and Nicola Sturgeon has addressed thousands inside the arena.

And there have even been motorsport thrills, knockout boxing bouts and titantic tussles in wrestling rings.

Earlier this week, we visited the arena and took a wander backstage – a video of which will be on the site tomorrow.

Today, we look back on a few tales of superstar antics that occurred backstage over the years….

When Morrissey played, he insisted on the entire venue being meat-free. The food on offer was switched to being vegetarian only and leather furniture was removed.

Morrissey (Ben Birchall/PA Wire)

An autograph wall at the venue had to be painted over after artists started writing controversial comments about other bands, football and politics on it. One band even took a can of spray paint to it!

The autograph wall has been replaced by a picture gallery backstage (Ross Crae / DC Thomson)

Instead of being put up in a hotel, Dolly Parton brought her own mobile home (and her dogs) with her and parked outside the venue. The Script brought a different choice of vehicle – using the arena’s concourse as a racetrack for go-karts.

Dolly Parton (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

Enrique Iglesias had two stages at one of his shows but no way of getting between them without going through the crowd. The solution? He was put into a big case and carried across by roadies.

Enrique Iglesias performs during the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards at The Hydro (Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

Before the venue opened, Simple Minds stars Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill were given a tour of the building and decided they’d found the perfect venue to film their first live DVD since the eighties.

Jim Kerr of Simple Minds (Steven Brown / DC Thomson)


We’ll have more coverage on The Hydro’s fifth anniversary across the weekend on and in this weekend’s paper.

Adapted from The Secrets of The Hydro, originally published in 2015